Four famous people with Zimbabwean roots
Born in London on November 6, 1972, to a Zimbabwean mother and an English father, talented actress Thandi Newton is known for her role in popular movies including Mission: Impossible 2, Beloved, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Pursuit of Happyness, Crash, among others.
Newton has won several accolades notably an Emmy Award in 2018 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Westworld, a BAFTA in 2006 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Crash, among others.
She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) at the 2019 New Year Honours for services to film and to charity.
2. Strive Masiyiwa
Ranked by Forbes as the 8th richest man in Africa with a $2.3B net worth, Strive Masiyiwa overcame protracted government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in his country of birth in 1998. He owns just over 50 per cent of the publicly-traded telecom, which is one part of his larger Econet Group.
Masiyiwa also owns just over half of private company Liquid Telecom, which provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecom firms across Africa. His other assets include stakes in mobile phone networks in Burundi and Lesotho, and investments in fintech and power distribution firms in Africa.
He and his wife Tsitsi founded the Higherlife Foundation, which supports orphaned and poor children in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi and Lesotho.
3. Sibongile Mlambo
The daughter of a Zimbabwean father and a South African mother, 28-year-old actress Sibongile Mlambo is known for her roles in historical adventure television series Black Sails, Honey 3 and The Last Face.
She is also popularly known for her role as Tamora Monroe on Teen Wolf and Donna on Siren.
In a Q&A with Face2Face Africa, Mlambo spoke briefly about her childhood and career.
“I’m a woman trying to live life in the most exciting way possible! I work as an actress, that way I can experience many lives! I was born in Zimbabwe. That’s where I grew up. I’m also South African through my mother’s side of the family, and I lived there for a few years before moving to Los Angeles,” she said.
4. Danai Gurira
Danai Jekesai Gurira was born on February 14, 1978, in Grinnell, Iowa, to a Zimbabwean mother and father.
The popular actress, who is known for her roles in Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame was born to a university librarian, Josephine Gurira and a chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Roger Gurira. Her parents came to the United States from Zimbabwe in 1960.
She moved to Zimbabwe with her family at age of five after the country gained independence and she attended the Dominican Convent High School in Harare during her later years. She moved back to the United States to attend college afterwards.
She has a brother who is a chiropractor and two sisters – Choni Gurira and Shingai Gurira.
4. Oliver Mtukudzi
Oliver Mtukudzi, who is popularly referred to as Tuku was a legendary musician, a businessman, philanthropist, human rights activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Southern Africa Region.
Mtukudzi won dozens of awards and performed with a lot of African legends and stars in the continent and around the world. Some of his popular songs include Neria (2001), Todii (1999), Mutserendende (2000), Hear Me, Lord (1995).
Singing in Zimbabwe’s Shona language along with Ndebele and English, Mtukudzi’s Afro-Jazz songs have distinct styles with a fusion of jazz and traditional African music.
He was about to release his 67th album, Hanya’Ga (Concern), before his death on January 23, 2019, after a long battle with diabetes. — Face2Face